The perusal of this letter revived a crowd of painful recollections in Heideck’s mind. He never doubted for a moment that the postscript, in which his name occurred, explained Edith’s real object in writing. All the rest was certainly a mere pretext; for he knew how indifferent Edith was in regard to money matters, and was convinced that she was in no such hurry about the settlement of the inheritance as might have been thought from her letter.
The Lieutenant-Colonel approached him at this moment.
“It has taken less time to decipher the document than I had ventured to hope,” said he. “I have telegraphed at once to the police at Schleswig to arrest the writer, one Brodersen, without delay. Please convince yourself what sort of friends we have amongst the Danes.”
Heideck read as follows:—
“In the harbour of Kiel, the larger warships are the battleships Oldenburg, Baden, Wurttemberg, Bayern, Sachsen; the large cruisers Kaiser, Deutschland, Konig Wilhelm; the small cruisers Gazelle, Prinzess Wilhelm, Irene, Komet, and Meteor, with the torpedo division boats D 5 and D 6 with their divisions. In addition, there are about 100 large and small steamers of the North-German Lloyd, the Hamburg-America Line, the Stettin Company, and others. All the large steamers are equipped with quick-firing cannon and machine-guns; the small, only with machine-guns. In the neighbourhood of Kiel there are 50,000 infantry and artillery from Hanover, Mecklenburg, Pomerania, and the province of Saxony, with only two regiments of hussars. My friends’ opinions differ as to the plans of the German Government. Possibly ships of the line will proceed through the Kaiser Wilhelm Canal and make a combined attack with the Russian fleet on the British near Copenhagen.
“It is most probable that the fleet of transports will take on board the army collected at Kiel and convey it through the Kaiser Wilhelm Canal into the North Sea, where the German battleships now at Antwerp will join the French squadrons from Cherbourg. An attempt would then be made, under cover of the warships, to land the German army and the French troops from Boulogne at Dover, or some place near on the English coast.
“I acknowledge the receipt of 10,000 francs from Mynheer van Spranekhuizen, but must ask you to send a further sum twice that amount. My agents are risking their lives, and will not work for less.”
“You, too, my dear Brodersen, have risked your life,” said the Lieutenant-Colonel seriously. “I should not like to give much for it at the present moment.”
“These notes are very instructive,” observed Heideck. “If we strengthen Admiral Hollway in the belief that we intend to land the German troops in England from Antwerp and not from Kiel, our fleet of transports at Kiel will be able to cross the North Sea all the more safely and effect the landing in Scotland.”